What connection/cable could I buy to connect to my Cisco switch?

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Jun 11th, 2008
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I'm in a purchase project of a new Gigabit switch for my company.

Currently my company has a "Catalyst 3560G-48TS". It has four additional ports called SFP that I supposed can be used to connect to another switch to constitute a sort of "backbone", right? I want to connect the current switch to the new one with as much transfer rate as possible. Ideally at least 5Gbps (yeah, if I use a single 1gbps cable, it's certainly not enough). Both switches will be separated at a distance of about 15m.

I know nothing about this SFP. Could someone tell me what are supported or supporting this? What cables should I buy? Optical fibers? What's the transfer rate could I expect from EACH SFP port?

Of course, I'm more interested to not so expensive solution, or at least a good quality/price ratio solution.

Thanks in advance.

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Collin Clark Wed, 06/11/2008 - 09:45
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If you want to use the SFP ports you must buy SFP's (I don't think they're are dual-purpose ports). You probably want the copper ones since they're cheaper.


That being said, you do have 48 ports of gigabit connections. Can you move 5 connections from the old switch to the new switch? You can then use normal CAT5e cable to interconnect the switches. No need to buy the SFPs. The SFP's are 1000Mbps each, same as your copper interfaces. You can buy fiber SFPs, but they cost more and then you have to buy the cables too.

Hope that helps

fmt_cisco Wed, 06/11/2008 - 09:54
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Thanks for your reply.

We've planned to buy another switch because right now, the switch is almost full and I need to unplug some switched off computers' connections to give room to other computers. About 12 ports are connected to our miscellaneous servers and main devices, and the new switch will be dedicated to these connections only.

I was also thinking that by moving out those connections to the new switch, I'll have 12 more ports. But if you suggest me to use 5 ports, then I'll just gain 7 ports.

You said every SFP port could only support 1000Mbps!? Oh! I thought SFP is something about 3 or 4 Gbps!?

fmt_cisco Wed, 06/11/2008 - 10:26
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By the way, I've read that PDF file. So, if I understand it correctly, I have to buy one such "Cisco 1000Base-T SFP" thing for one port in one switch? So I'll need two such things for every connection?

And a little search on web gives me a price of about 250 bucks for one such thing! Wow, that's quite expensive! Or did I make mistake?

Collin Clark Wed, 06/11/2008 - 10:51
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Nope you're correct. That's why I was wondering if you could just use the copper ethernet ports instead of the SFPs. You'll save a lot of $.

Joseph W. Doherty Wed, 06/11/2008 - 17:13
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SFP ports are normally used with fiber connections, since as you've discovered the SFP copper option is expensive vs. the built in copper ports.

When you add your second switch, you should have sufficient ports that you can create an Etherchannel with the ordinary copper ports. Etherchannels will support up to 8 ports, but if you really need to go beyond 4, you might want to consider switches that either support 10 gig ports or the 3750/3750-E series that have high bandwidth stack cables.

The 3560 series is a L3 switch If your don't expect to route on the new switch, you might also condider a L2 switch, such as the 2960G.


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